With Samantha Hunt
August 27, 2007
Samantha Hunt contacted me a few months ago and requested a special trip to Barren Island.
She just finished a book, the final scene is set on the island.
And she said that she also just likes the name.
She tried to get pregnant for years, and she had begun to refer to her uterus as ‘Barren Island’.
She has been out to the island before and knows a lot about its history,
but she wanted to explore the coast by boat.
Here is butterfly that rode with us for a while.
You can’t see him so well, but here is a naked man on the unpopulated bank of Barren Island.
Samantha’s book is about Nicola Tesla.
Although the book is fiction, she tried to stick to most of the facts about his life and work.
It seems that Nicola was an eccentric recluse. He loved Pigeons, and he thought that he was married to one.
“In real life?” I asked, “Was he crazy?”
“I don’t write about him that way.” said Samantha.
We paddled with the current for a few miles, and then tied up to have a look at the map.
Barren Island isn’t really an island any more. It was connected by landfill to make Floyd Bennet Field.
We decided to cross over the mouth of Garritsen Creek and aim for Plum Island.
We landed on Plum Beach,
and pulled the boat along through the shallow water.
There were many things to see in the tidal flats;
some type of egg sack that seemed to be coming out of the clam holes,
and then the most wonderful thing of all…
a small crab growing a piece of kelp right out of his head.
We pulled up by the rest stop at Plum Beach,
and had some lunch – a warm plum brought by Samantha.
I biked back across Barren island to get the truck.
We had come almost all the way around the island in just a few hours,
and it was a short trip down the runway at Floyd Bennett Field.
Samantha was waiting when I came back with the truck.
Someone else was waiting when we got back to Brooklyn.
Rosa Yvonne Hagan, just 2.5 months old. Coming to Barren Island with me was the first time that Samantha had been away from Rosa. And she was happy to come home!
Samantha gave me a copy of her first book, The Seas. We have to wait a few months for the release of ‘The Invention of Everything Else’ – the one that ends on Barren Island.
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